Review by Gingerbread Guy

"Hitman Delivers [as always]"

I'll skip to the point: If you've never played a Hitman game before, its a fun and challenging game with a uniquely dark feel. Its not an epic game, but it does a great job for what it is. If you're a veteran Hitman player, this is essentially what you'd expect from a sequel. Lets break the review down, shall we?

As always, great graphics. Agent 47 has a lot of nice outfits to cavort around in, and some of the levels are quite nicely put-together [example: the BDSMish rave in the meat-packing plant]. A small improvement over the graphics in Hitman II, I believe, but no major changes. I love the blood-splatter effect.. thats always been my favourite aspect of Hitman's graphics.

Here's where the Hitman series starts to lag. Controlling which weapon you have out at a time is a little tricky, though veterans of the series will have the hang of it. The major problem with the gameplay, however, is that the AI in this game is simply too stupid and/or buggy. While they move about and patrol realisticly, the AI gets really stupid in combat. Hostile enemies seem to get confused when you run near them, often ceasing their attack when you run behind them. Also, some guards seem to be unable to notice massive pools or splashes of blood where there was no blood before. On a good note, I love the way gun accuracy is handled: Different guns have different kickback and accuracy over distances.. its just nicely portrayed.

Unlike the previous Hitman game, Contracts has virtually no discernable plot. Anyone who's skipped the first game will be massively confused as Agent 47 "relives" missions in various points in his history. Sure, the missions are fun, but without a good storyline to link them together, much of your motivation for completing the game is stolen from you. For a better storyline, check out Hitman II instead.

I hate giving fractions, but there it is. The music in Contracts is fantastic.. it sets the mood perfectly and is never annoying or repetitive. You'll find yourself listening to the rave music in winamp, trust me. The sound effects are good, with some good voices and realistic [enough] gunshots, but they're not great enough to boost this to a 10. The majority of this 9.5 has to do with the soundtrack.

Sadly, these games are always short. Hitman only has about a dozen missions, and each can be completed in about an hour. There are bonuses for achieving a "Silent Assassin" rating by being exceptionally sneaky, which is essentially the real point of the game, and it is worth re-doing the missions to get full SA status. Also, there are many different ways of accomplishing each set of mission goals, and that could get you to replay the game a couple times too.. but overall, you'll be tired of this game after a week or so tops.

As I said, a great game for what it is. If only the AI were a little better, the glitches were fewer, and the missions were more plentiful.. but I can't really complain. Any game that makes me instinctively stalk my housemates around the house until they're so creeped out they file restraining orders on me is a-okay with me!

As a futher note.. if you're trying to decide wether to buy this game or rent it, my advice is definetly to RENT it. Yeah, its fun, but after a week you won't touch it again. Grab an X-Box or a PS2 and free up a weekend for some hardcore assassinating [is that a word?]. You're better off.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 06/13/04

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